Sunday, February 14, 2016

Amber Wake, Gabriel Falling by Ronovan Hester, co-author P.S. Bartlett

Review by H. Schussman
I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Reader’s Point of View:
This prequel is written to explain an enigmatic pirate, Captain Rasmus Bergman, found in a series written by P.S. Bartlett. Author Ronovan Hester was selected by P.S. Bartlett to go back in time to develop the character of this fierce, yet protective man.

Set in the early 1700’s, Hester uses a very formal Old English dialogue and non-dialogue language style. The historical descriptions are done smoothly, and flow nicely without being to “teachy”.

A word of advice is to settle into the language as quickly as possible. It was a bit of a stumbling block for me, as I tried to mentally get the long slow phraseology to catch up with the fast scenes. Hester seems to settle into a great story-telling groove after the third chapter. After that I was along for the ride.

If you’ve read the other three in this female pirate series, you will be hungry for the story of Rasmus. If you haven’t read any of them you will find yourself wanting to find out what happens next. This is the making of a pirate! How did this noble (albeit bad-tempered) man become one of the most feared pirates in the Caribbean Sea?

It’s a little confusing, but I believe P.S. Bartlett wrote Blue Diamond first and it was a major hit. The novella, Ivory Dawn was written to give history on Ivory. Amber Wake, Gabriel Falling is the story of Rasmus. Demons and Pearls is how those two met, Jaded Tides is the second book regarding the duo. Oddly enough, Blue Diamond has a different pirate in Ivory’s life, Captain Maddox Carbonale. Hester also develops this man’s character from the main character’s POV.

According to Bartlett she wrote them backwards because she was curious about how they came to be the fierce pirates they are in Blue Diamond. Not having read anything but Amber Wake, I wouldn’t know how well she pulls all of that off, but I do like Hester’s development of Rasmus Bergman from his male point of view.

Writer’s POV:
As stated above, the language is Old English and a bit stiff at the start. I don’t know if I warmed up or if Ronovan Hester warmed up, but it flowed through my mind smoother after a couple of chapters.

In Amber Wake, Gabriel Falling, Hester takes on the challenge of writing first person and steers clear of some of the pit-falls of that style. He doesn’t describe what is happening behind him or on another boat. As a reader, you only know what Captain Rasmus Bergman knows, which is critical in first-person writing.

Another challenge is developing a character from someone else’s series. Hester takes this in stride and creates a back-story to explain the famous pirate. He includes history of what could explain Rasmus’ high moral standards (for a pirate) and his upper class education. At times the internal and external dialogue, and the actions seemed at odds, but it didn’t stop me from reading.

This is the first I’ve read of The Razor's Adventures Pirate Tales. It would be entertaining to get readers together, who read these books in different order, and see if we each have a favorite character based on which book we read first.

So in conclusion; Ivory Dawn, Amber Wake, Demons and Pearls, and Jaded Tides are all prequels to The Blue Diamond. Unlike Ivory Dawn, Amber Wake is a stand-alone novel, but barely.

Amber Wake, Gabriel Falling is available at Amazon


  1. You've done a great job here of delineating the different books, and now I have a great idea of what I'll be getting into, as I have this book on my Kindle! But Ronovan Hester is a world-class guy who helps authors on his blog, Lit. World Interviews. I've been following him for quite a while, so anything he writes piques my interest! Thank you, Heidi, for this thorough and comprehensive review! And here's to the success of this book!